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CN Rail Lawyers in Sarnia Court to Stop Blockaders

Toronto News, January 2, 2013

Lawyers for CN railway are bringing two motions before a Sarnia court today in an effort to push back against native protesters blockading a busy spur line in the industrial district of the city.

The first motion is against Ron Plain, spokesperson for the blockaders, asking the judge to find him in contempt of court. The second is a request for the Sarnia chief of police, Phil Nelson, to attend court and explain what steps have been taken to enforce the injunction granted to CN.

The blockade went up Dec. 21 and has prevented trains from accessing some facilities along the line. Propane company Pembina Pipelines has a facility behind the line, but has shifted distribution to another location to make up for the blockage.

“This is supposed to be a scare tactic,” said Plain, who said he would appear in court.

Protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper honour a request by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence for a meeting with native leaders. Spence has been on hunger strike since Dec. 11.

A nationwide movement by aboriginals, known as Idle No More, has peppered the country with protests ranging from flashmobs to blockades calling for greater consultation on changes to land management on reserves and the Indian Act.

The rail company has faced criticism from Sarnia’s mayor who is calling for a peaceful solution to the blockade that would happen outside of courts and police.